Liquidators of failed brokerage MF Global will start returning funds to a further 1,300 UK clients next week, after returning a total of $3m to 600 others in a first wave of repayments last Friday.
Thousands of investors were frozen out of their accounts when MF Global collapsed in October, and clients of the broker’s UK arm have criticised the country’s regulatory authorities after having to wait longer for the return of their money than investors in other jurisdictions.
KPMG, which is overseeing the liquidation of MF Global’s UK assets, said on Monday that it had made interim payments to 600 clients with estimated claims of $12m, at a rate of 26 cents on the dollar. A further 1,300 clients, with claims of $19m, would be repaid at the same rate from next week.
Richard Heis, restructuring partner at KPMG, said that the interim payment plan was “uncharted territory”.
“The least risky approach would be to hold back the payment process until the full picture of all claims is known. However, we want to start returning client money as soon as possible,” he said.
The repayment of the funds, which were held in so-called segregated accounts, will do little to alleviate the uncertainty of clients whose funds were not ringfenced from MF Global’s own. Some clients have claimed they did not realise their funds were not segregated until the company collapsed, but Mr Heis warned last month that there were “more people claiming segregated status than there is segregated money”.
The $8m to be disbursed to UK customers in the first two waves of repayments suffers by comparison with pay-outs in other countries. Canadian clients have already received their funds in full, while US investors have received 72 per cent of their account balances. Last week, Singapore’s High Court approved the return of $350m to clients of MF Global’s Singaporean operation.
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